The number 9 meaning in the Bible holds more than just a numerical value as it holds a lot of spiritual meaning and is linked to many significant events in the Bible.
Jesus died at the ninth hour, which is also the hour of prayer. Human gestation lasts for 9 months and is deemed critical if it goes a month earlier or later. Nine represents the number of generations from Adam to Noah, and then, from Noah to Abraham. Of all the digits, the number 9 is the most mentioned in the Bible. So what makes the number 9 so special?
What is the Meaning of the Number 9 in the Bible?
What does the number 9 mean in the Bible? Its meaning is ambivalent. Sometimes, its appearance led to destruction, sometimes it prophesied a new journey or new life. But its prophetic meaning is neither good nor bad and is mostly determined by our perception of it. No matter the context, it was sure to foretell a momentous time that would change the course of history.
In the Bible, the number 9 represents completeness or finality. But even with its association with Christ’s death, it was never conceived as something bad. This is because the death of Jesus Christ opened up the gates of salvation for humankind.
The biblical meaning of the number 9 in the Bible could both be in negative or positive contexts. At times, it prophesied the coming of a child and represented gifts from the Holy Spirit. Other times, it was associated with destruction and illnesses. Either way, we know that they are important events that would define history both in the New and the Old Testament.
Prophetic and biblical meaning
According to God’s word, the number 9 is the number of judgments. It symbolizes patience, harmony, development, and creation. Sometimes, the number 9 is described as the perfect number and is considered sacred among Egyptians and Greeks.
The ninth hour, or 3 p.m., was designated as the hour of prayer. It is the time that Christ gave up His spirit and was the same time of day that Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, received a vision to reach out to Peter the Apostle. These biblical events associated with the number 9 led to its reputation being a sacred and spiritual figure.
Associations of the Number 9
Although it was never explained why the number 9 was more frequently used than other numbers, we can assume that it is indeed a special digit. After all, it was used to represent holiness and was associated with the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 27:46 recounts the death of Christ the Lord saying, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Christ was crucified and died in the ninth hour. It was the time that He submitted His spirit to the Father who sent Him. This is such a holy event in the Scriptures that relate to the number 9 as a representation of divine completeness. It manifests the finality of Christ’s mission on earth, which is to bring salvation to mankind.
Symbol of holiness
Leviticus 23:32 says, “It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.”
Another association with the number 9 is the Day of Atonement, which is the 9th day of the seventh month. It is considered a holy day of the year for the Jews. Also known as Yom Kippur, it is a day of worship that requires believers to observe fasting for a whole day.
Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 enumerates the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
These 9 spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to believers of God to use in the service of others. These attributes were graced by the Holy Spirit to the apostles as they were needed for the fulfillment of their mission.
Significant Appearances of the Number 9 in the Bible
The number 9 appears in the Bible 49 times and has the most number of appearances among other figures. Four of the most notable, though, are the stories of King Hoshea, the first battle mentioned in the Bible, the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, and the conversion of Cornelius.
The reign of Hoshea
2 Kings 17:1-6 tells of the reign of King Hoshea, “In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.”
Hoshea was the last king to reign over Israel before the kingdom fell. He ruled for a total of 9 years from 732 to 723 BC. His reign was founded on betrayal for he only became ruler after he conspired to kill his predecessor.
King Hoshea gave annual tributes to Tiglath-pileser III, the Assyrian King who claimed to have brought him into power. After Tiglath-pileser III died, Hoshea revolted against the new king, who in response, conquered Israel and seized Hoshea.
Destruction of Jerusalem’s temple
According to history, two temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on the 9th Av of the Hebrew calendar. The destruction of Jerusalem’s temple began with Solomon’s temple in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
The second one was known as Herod’s Temple. Its destruction, which occurred forty years after Christ’s death, was predicted by Jesus in Luke 21:5-6, “And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said. As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
With these occurrences, the number 9 was considered a sign of the Times and the End of the Age. The destruction that came with the appearance of the number 9 was often followed by a better, new beginning for God’s people.
The first battle in the scripture
The first battle written in the Bible was the Battle of Nine Kings in the Old Testament. The event was also known as the Battle of the Vale of Siddim or the Slaughter of Chedorlaomer. One side was an alliance among the kings of Babylon, Larsa, Eshnunna, Qatna, and Yamhad.
The other party was composed of the king of Elam and his trading partners from the extreme eastern end of the Fertile Crescent to Anatolia, totaling 4 kings.
Genesis 14:1-2 tells the event as follows: “And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; That this made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.”
The first gentile convert to Christianity
Acts 10:1-6 recounts the conversion of Cornelius, a Roman Centurion.
Cornelius was the first recorded Gentile convert and received the message to reach out to the apostle Peter at the ninth hour. This story marks the beginning of spreading God’s reach to everyone. Cornelius is the spark of hope for everyone who wishes to be welcomed into the fold. This story brought about one of the number 9’s spiritual significance.
Of all the numbers, the number nine has appeared the most times in the Bible, usually signifying an important event. It usually forecasted a purging or destruction. This also led to the events in the Bible associated with the number nine being compared to purgatory.
However, it also signified a new beginning. For example, when Christ died, which was a tragic event, it ultimately brought salvation for us. The destruction of the temples of Jerusalem signaled the end of an evil reign. It was a good sign and gave the people of God an opportunity to start anew.
For Christians, the number 9 has a special meaning. It is a symbol of miracles. That every dark period in our lives follows a new day, a chance for us to repent our sins and amend our ways. It is God’s promise of eternal life upon fulfilling our spiritual missions on earth.
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